As the jewelry industry continues to grow, so does the diamond demand. And as technology advances, so too does how these diamonds are created. Nowadays, lab grown diamonds are increasing in popularity due to the many benefits they offer over natural diamonds, such as being eco-friendly and more affordable.
What is a lab grown diamond? A lab grown diamond is a diamond that is created in a laboratory by mimicking the conditions necessary for diamond formation in nature. The two most common methods of lab grown diamond creation are High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).
While both types of lab grown diamonds are physically and chemically identical to natural diamonds, there are some key differences between HPHT and CVD diamonds. This blog will discuss them.
What is a Lab Grown Diamond?
To understand HPHT and CVD diamonds, we first need to understand what is a lab grown diamond. As mentioned earlier, a lab grown diamond is a diamond that is created in a laboratory by mimicking the conditions necessary for diamond formation in nature. They are an ethical, eco-friendly, and cost-effective alternative to natural diamonds.
Diamonds are formed over a period of millions of years deep within the Earth’s mantle at extremely high temperatures and pressures. Scientists have been able to replicate these conditions in laboratories, which has led to the creation of lab grown diamonds.
These diamonds have the same properties, including physical, chemical, structural, and optical, as natural diamonds. They are made of carbon atoms arranged in a lattice structure, and they are the hardest known natural material.
The only difference between lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds is their origin. Lab-made diamonds are created in controlled environments, while natural diamonds are formed underground over a period of millions of years.
Some of the benefits of lab grown diamonds include being eco-friendly, more affordable, and free of impurities. There are two methods of lab grown diamond creation: High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).
Let’s take a look at each in more detail.
High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) Method
The HPHT method was first developed in the 1950s and is the oldest method of lab grown diamond creation. The HPHT method involves recreating the conditions found deep within the Earth’s mantle, where diamonds are formed. This is done by subjecting a small seed crystal of diamond to extremely high temperatures and pressures.
The heat and pressure cause the carbon to grow, transforming the melted carbon into a diamond. The melted diamonds are allowed to cool off and solidify. This causes them to take the shape of a natural, solid diamond as found in nature.
Advantages of the HPHT Method
- It leads to the creation of high-clarity and white diamonds.
- The diamonds created using this method are 45-70% cheaper than natural diamonds.
- It is an excellent method for creating inexpensive, colored diamonds.
- The process is similar to how diamonds are formed in nature.
Disadvantages of the HPHT Method
- This method requires a lot of power.
Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) Method
The CVD method was developed in the 1980s and is the most common method of lab grown diamond creation. The CVD process begins by placing a thin wafer of diamond crystal into a vacuum chamber. The temperature is then raised to 800 degrees Celsius.
After the chamber is turned on, a carbon-rich gas, like methane, enters the chamber and turns into plasma using lasers or microwaves. The breaking of molecular bonds in the gas by ionization results in pure carbon being deposited on a diamond crystal’s wafer, atom by atom, layer by layer, to form a gemstone.
Advantages of the CVD Method
- Higher flexibility in terms of the diamond shape and size.
- Results in a more pure form of diamond.
- The diamond can be grown over large areas and substrates.
- It does not require high pressure.
Both HPHT and CVD diamonds are used to make various forms of jewelry, including engagement rings, stud earrings, wedding jewelry, necklaces, and tennis bracelets. They are also used for industrial applications such as making cutting tools and drill bits.
HPHT vs. CVD Diamonds
The main difference between HPHT and CVD diamonds is their growth process or morphology. HPHT diamonds grow in a cuboctahedron shape and have 14 growth directions, while CVD diamonds only grow cubic and have one direction.
In contrast, natural diamonds grow in octahedron shape and have eight growth directions. These growth patterns are one of the most reliable ways to differentiate natural and artificial diamonds.
HPHT lab grown diamonds are generally more yellowish or brownish, while CVD is the first method to produce colorless diamonds. Both methods may now produce a colorless and flawless diamond, and there is hardly any difference between the two except for the morphology.
Which Diamond Should I Choose?
While HPHT diamonds were the first type of lab grown diamond to be created, CVD diamonds have become more popular in recent years due to their superior quality. However, both types of diamonds offer unique benefits that make them ideal for different purposes.
If you’re looking for a lab grown diamond that closely resembles a natural diamond, then an HPHT diamond is the best choice. A CVD diamond is the better option if you’re looking for a diamond with fewer impurities and better clarity.
One should take note that there is conflicting information regarding which method of growing diamonds is more effective. Although companies may not show it, each company tries to push what benefits them the most. Customers who buy from a CVD business will be told to stay away from HPHT diamonds and vice versa.
No matter which type of lab grown diamond you choose, you can be sure that you’re getting a high-quality, eco-friendly, and conflict-free diamond.
We hope this blog has helped you understand the key differences between HPHT and CVD diamonds. Both HPHT and CVD diamonds have their own unique benefits that make them ideal for different purposes.
Diamonds created from both these methods are considered artificial or lab grown diamonds. You won’t be able to tell whether you have purchased an HPHT or CVD diamond without consulting a professional.
Remember that the most crucial factor when choosing a lab grown diamond is not the method used to create it but rather the quality of the finished product. Anyways, lab grown diamonds are the way to go if you are looking for a beautiful and affordable diamond!